The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation recognized more than 40 students who received scholarships from the foundation at a ceremony and reception at the United States Institute of Peace July 16.
Established in 1962, the foundation awards money to the children of Marine Corps veterans.
“We are strengthening America by graduating the children of Marines and Navy corpsmen,” said Margaret Davis, the foundation’s president and chief executive officer. From degree and certification programs, we help to prepare them for gainful career employment. That’s what we are about at the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.”
Davis said the foundation’s college graduation rate is 86 percent. The organization's students show they are determined to succeed, she added.
The scholarships are made possible through private and commercial donations. This year, more than $6.5 million was awarded to more than 2,000 young adults.
The foundation has awarded more than 30,000 scholarships valued at more than $80 million. The foundation seeks to award scholarships to students whose parents were killed or wounded in combat.
Alison Spann, a senior at Pepperdine University, received the foundation’s Heroes Tribute Scholarship.
Alison Spann’s father, Jonny Michael Spann, was the first American killed in action in Afghanistan. A former Marine captain, Spann was working for the CIA in Mazar-e Sharif. He was killed during a prisoner uprising Nov. 25, 2001, while interrogating detainees.
Spann, who was 9 when her father was killed, said her father valued education, and it was always clear that he wanted her to go to college.
The scholarship uses money from the fallen fund, a program that gives up to $30,000 over four years to the children of Marine or Navy corpsmen killed in combat since Sept. 11, 2001.
“My family feels very honored the Marine Corps still remembers my father,” said Spann. “He always had this saying ‘once a Marine, always a Marine,’ and the Marine Corps scholarship has held true to that.”
Spann is studying communications. She said the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation has prepared her for the future both financially and through experiences she would not have had otherwise. She said the foundation’s staff is also helpful in networking students’ abilities for success after college.
Spann said she has met many people through the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, providing her with new relationships that she would not have had otherwise.
Travis Brewer, the ceremony’s student speaker and a junior at the University of South Florida, lost his father in a motorcycle accident in 1992. Brewer’s father, a staff sergeant, was participating in what he and his friends called their “final ride.” The trip was a celebration of the group parting ways and leaving the drill field.
Brewer’s mother did not know she was pregnant with him at the time of his father’s death.
Travis said school has always fascinated him in different ways. He enjoys education and has used college as a tool for networking and meeting new people.
Now a budding finance major, Brewer said the foundation’s tremendous financial support relieved him of the stresses of college tuition.
“There will be great things from this group of very talented students,” said Davis. “They were raised on the Marine Corps’ values: honor, courage and commitment.”